Public Universities and Regional Growth: Insights from the University of California

Public Universities and Regional Growth: Insights from the University of California

Public Universities and Regional Growth: Insights from the University of California

Public Universities and Regional Growth: Insights from the University of California

Synopsis

Public Universities and Regional Growth examines evolutions in research and innovation at six University of California campuses. Each chapter presents a deep, historical analysis that traces the dynamic interaction between particular campuses and regional firms in industries that range from biotechnology, scientific instruments, and semiconductors, to software, wine, and wireless technologies.

The book provides a uniquely comprehensive and cohesive look at the University of California's complex relationships with regional entrepreneurs. As a leading public institution, the UC is an examplar for other institutions of higher education at a time when the potential and value of these universities is under scrutiny. Any yet, by recent accounts, public research universities performed nearly 70% of all academic research and approximately 60% of federally funded R&D in the United States. Thoughtful and distinctive, Public Universities and Regional Growth illustrates the potential for universities to drive knowledge-based growth while revealing the California system as a uniquely powerful engine for innovation across its home state.

Excerpt

The twenty-first century is the century of knowledge-based economic growth. Recognizing this reality, national and regional governments in the industrial and industrializing economies have introduced policies and strengthened institutions to support innovation. One institution that has received significant attention in the course of these efforts is the research university. There are a number of reasons for the recent policy focus on research universities. Considerable evidence (Narin et al., 1997; Hicks et al., 2001) suggests that the dependence of technological innovation on advances in science and engineering research has increased in recent decades, a considerable change from the “trial-and-error” character of innovation in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Universities also play a unique role in both research and training, and their ability to expose graduates to the frontiers of scientific research provides a powerful mechanism for the transfer of knowledge and technology.

One of the most important recent U.S. initiatives in this area is the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, which sought to promote the patenting and licensing by U.S. universities and federal laboratories of research advances based on federally funded research, based on the belief (which in turn had limited empirical support—see Eisenberg, 1996) that such policies would accelerate the commercialization of innovations based on publicly funded research (Berman, 2012). The post-1980 period has witnessed considerable growth in patenting by U.S. universities, and many of these patents have been licensed to private firms. Although it is far from clear that the Bayh-Dole Act in fact “caused” this growth in patenting and licensing, the Act is widely viewed as a success and has influenced the policies of other . . .

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